|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
The collection includes correspondence with publishers and literary figures; Yanovskii's diaries; drafts, manuscripts and typescripts of literary works by Yanovsky and others, subject files, photographs, records of interviews, and printed materials.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
One folder in box 23 (medical) is restricted. The remainder of the collection has no restrictions.
This collection is located on-site.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Bakhmeteff Archive, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative.
Collection was incorrectly marked as unprocessed. Link to PDF finding aid added, September 2019. kws
09/23/2019 Collection status was changed from unproccessed to processed. PDF finding aid was linked to the record and published. One folder with personal information was restricted by curator.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Vassily S. Yanovsky, an author and a physician was part of an early wave of Soviet emigres who came West in the 1920's. Dr. Yanovsky, an anesthesiologist, left the Soviet Union for Paris in 1927. He studied medicine at the Sorbonne and came to the United States in 1942. Yanovsky wrote two dozen books, including 20 novels. His works were published variously in Russian, Italian, French and English. At age 60 he began writing for English-language readers, and his major books of fiction were ''No Man's Time'' with a foreword by W. H. Auden (1967)''Of Light and Sounding Brass'' (1972) and ''The Great Transfer'' (1974). Critics grappled with - and praised - his often complex novels. In ''The Great Transfer'' Christopher Lehmann-Haupt said in The New York Times, the intricacies of the plot ''may sound impossibly farfetched and cumbersome'' but Dr. Yanovsky ''makes it float like a fairy tale. He squeezes his deepest spritual insights into sentences as innocent as the prose of Peter Rabbit.'' 'Spiritual and Metaphysical' One of his nonfiction books''The Dark Fields of Venus: From a Doctor's Log Book'' (1973), was based on journals he kept while working in venereal disease clinics. Another nonfiction work''Medicine, Science and Life'' he devoted to the philosophical foundation of medicine and the dilemmas of the medical profession. He also wrote short stories and, along with Helen Iswolsky, Anne Freemantle, Dorothy Day and Auden, was a founder of a 1940's literary magazine, The Third Hour. Late in life, he lived in New York City (Queens) with his wife and translator Isabella Levitin Yanovsky. He died of lymphoma in the age of 83.